Wishing one an all a Happy Chinese New Year of the Horse. Take this year to horse around as much as you can, and be nice to all your neigh-bours.
Note: “Fat” is a dialect for “fa” in Mandarin, which means “prosper”.
This Chinese New Year has been quiet. Apart from visiting dad’s side of the family in the morning, mom’s side decided to keep it quiet this year because we lost grandma last year. It all feels a bit strange.
This evening, I was at Takashimaya boots-hunting for my bestie’s upcoming wedding.
Chanced upon this lovely pair of boots from Hush Puppies, tried it on and fell in love with it instantly. As I paraded in front of the mirror and admiring them, I was soon painfully aware of something sharp digging into my ankles from both sides.
I remove the boots and felt around – and noticed that the knotted thread edges were sticking out of the fabric and pointing inwards. It wasn’t your usual soft thread as well. It was stiff and felt plasticky. My enthusiasm for the boots fizzled somewhat.
So I asked to try another pair, and the salesperson happily obliged. (I guess she could tell I really loved the boots.)
Unfortunately, the second pair was much worse. It felt like I was wearing a prickly hedgehog around my ankles.
The salesperson overheard my gripes and tried to help. She said she’d do something about it, took the boots aside and did something with them while I waited. Later on, she returned with the boots. To my delight, they no longer hurt.
“What did you do with them?” I asked her.
“Ooh, I cut off all the threads! So they won’t be poking you anymore!” was her reply.
All the blood drained from my face.
“WHAT?!” I exclaimed. I picked up a boot and looked closely at it. The knots were all gone. I gingerly tapped on the fabric. Just as I expected, part of the fabric fell apart. Now, I no longer had a prickly knots problem, but a loose thread problem. And not just one loose thread. Plenty of them.
“Um, I think you shouldn’t have done that. Because now the threads are loose!” I pointed out to her.
“No, the design is like that one (sic)!” The salesperson responded, as she began doing the same with the second pair of boots I tried.
“Uhh,” I tried to stop her, but it was too late.
Snip, snip, snip! went her clippers and all the knots fell off.
Now, I had two defective pair of boots on my hands. They were pretty pricey too, at $159. And surely, I wouldn’t want to spend that kind of money on a pair of boots with the fabric falling apart. (At least with the prickly knots, I could have filed them down or applied some kind of coating. :()
I sighed. The salesperson was still looking at me expectantly.
My dad who was shopping with me, caught on the situation and asked. “Do you have another pair?”
The salesperson looked slightly put off.
“No, we only have two pairs of each size. If you’re still not happy with the boots, you can go to another outlet,” she replied, frowning slightly.
I hesitated. Part of me felt rather bad because she had assisted us a lot. But well, her “help” had led to a much worse outcome – two damaged pair of boots. :(
Eventually, I decided to pass on them. I handed the boots back to her, thanking her twice.
She simply took the boots from me, shoved them back into the box and slammed the lid back on. Obviously, she was pissed.
Well, as a consumer, I do have the right to choose what I want to pay for, and to receive defect-free goods, especially when they are priced highly.
But still, I felt guilty and a little sorry for her.
My grandmother’s sudden death two weeks ago (more on that later) seems to have brought the cousins and I closer together, which is the ‘brighter’ side of the whole situation. Although of course, I do wish she’s still around with us.
We went on our first gathering yesterday evening. Honestly a memorable one, and I’m confident there’ll be more to come. These are the people I grew up with. We’ve known each other since we were little runts, subsequently brats, then snotty teenagers and now grown-ups with our own hopes and dreams. On top of that, a shared identity, family history and genes to match.
Laughing at one another’s jokes and ridiculous boo-boos were reminiscent of my last proper interaction with them, sometime 5 years back. (During the 5 years, I withdrew from my extended family a lot – for a variety of personal reasons. Now, I’m kicking myself for having done so because I have lost out on a lot of precious time.) I’m really happy that after all this time, some things don’t change. :’)
We had dinner at Saveur, a lovely place with awesome French food at really decent prices … to the point where we had no qualms about topping up our orders because the food was so good.
In fact, the staff also had this strange tendency to send food which did not belong to us (but meant for the table next to us) our way. And of course, some unsuspecting cousin will scoop a huge mouthful and plop it into his mouth … just before a more observant one goes “waaaait, did we order that?”
The occupants of the next table got so paranoid that they’d never fail to look over each time food gets served on our table. It was quite hilarious to watch.
During dessert. M ordered ‘cookies and milk’ which turned out to be this plateful of … something completely covered with milk froth. It was so intriguing that everyone leaned in for a closer look.
“What’s underneath?” J asked. (Obviously asking about the dessert.)
In response, M lifted the plate and peeked below it.
Facepalms all around.
The above, and a tonne of other laughter-inducing moments. I’m even giggling to myself as I’m writing this, and am suddenly aware of how much I really miss all these.
Good night, folks.